FAQ on intellectual property: Public communication law

  • El right of public communication It is the right to carry out any act by which a plurality of people can have access to the work without the prior distribution of copies to each one of them.
  • For example, dissertations, screenings of audiovisual works, exhibitions, or transmissions by wire, cable, optical fiber or similar procedures are acts of public communication (as would be the case with the publication of a document on a web page public or on an intranet with restricted access, as well as its transmission by e-mail).
Communication is not considered public when carried out within a strictly domestic field that is not integrated or connected to a broadcast network of any kind.

In addition to works excluded from intellectual property (art. 13 LPI ) or that are in the public domain (art. 41 LPI ), The Intellectual Property Law (LPI)  It contemplates some cases in which public works can be communicated without the authorization of the author or holder of rights. Some of these exceptions are:

Teaching illustration and research
  • The teaching staffregulated education (university and non-university) taught in centers of the Spanish educational system and the staff ofUniversities and public bodies of scientific research they can copy, distribute and publicly communicate small fragments / parts of works and isolated works of a figurative plastic or photographic nature (only if the conditions detailed in art. 32.3 LPI).
  • The staff of the universities or public research centers they may also carry out acts of partial reproduction, distribution and public communication (through internal and closed teaching networks) of a chapter of a book, journal article, or equivalent extension with respect to an assimilated publication, or an assimilable extension to 10 percent of the total work (only if the conditions detailed in art. 32.4 LPI).

Works Orphans
  • Els Educational centers, museums, libraries, hamstrings accessible to the public, as well as public broadcasting organizations, archives, sound libraries and film libraries may reproduce the orphan works available in its collection for the purposes of digitization, making available to the public, indexing, cataloging, conservation or restoration and public communication (provided all the requirements detailed in theart. 37bis).
Security and official procedures
  • Acts of reproduction, distribution or public communication of works for the purpose of public security or for the correct development of administrative, judicial or parliamentary procedures (art. 31 bis)
People with disabilities
  • Acts of reproduction, distribution and public communication of the works already disseminated when they are made for the benefit of people with disabilities, provided that these acts are not for profit, have a direct relationship with the disability in question, and are carried out through a procedure or means adapted to the disability and are limited to what it requires (art. 31 Ter)
Information on current events
  • Papers and articles on current issues disseminated by social media may be reproduced, distributed and communicated publicly by any others of the same class, if the source is cited and the author if the work appeared with a signature and provided that the reservation of rights has not been stated at source. All this without prejudice to the author's right to receive the agreed remuneration or, if there is no agreement, that which is considered equitable. In the case of literary collaborations, the appropriate authorization of the author is required in any case (art. 33.1).
  • They can be reproduced, distributed and communicated Conferences, allegations, reports before the Courts and other works of the same nature that have been pronounced in public, provided that these uses are made for the sole purpose of reporting on current events. This last condition does not apply to speeches delivered in parliamentary sessions or public corporations. In any case, the author reserves the right to publish these works in a collection (aRt. 33.2).
Works located on public roads
  • The Works permanently located in parks, streets, squares or other public roads may be freely reproduced, distributed and communicated through paintings, drawings, photographs and audiovisual procedures (art. 35.2)
As established byart. 40bis LPI , none of them exceptions contemplated in the law can be interpreted so that their application causes unjustified damage to the legitimate interests of the author or that go to the detriment of the normal exploitation of the works to which they refer.

Hanging a document on the Internet as well as a restricted access intranet is an act of public communication (regardless of the number of people accessing it).

Therefore, you can only upload a work on an intranet (even if it is restricted access) if you have the authorization of the holder of the corresponding rights.

The dissemination to public websites or intranets (virtual campus websites with restricted access ...) of scanned documents is an act of public communication.

Therefore, it can not be carried out without the permission of the author or holder of the rights unless it is public domain works or that the use that they want to do is allowed to LPI as an exception (art. 31-40 LPI).

The inclusion of any teaching material on the Virtual Campus of the UPC It is an act of public communication that can only be done according to the one established by the Intellectual property law.

Otherwise, this dissemination of teaching materials is a violation of the intellectual property rights of the corresponding authors and / or rights holders.

More information

The electronic resources contracted by our Library, Publications and Archives Service can only be used according to the provisions of the respective license for use, contracts in which both the obligations of the provider and the uses allowed to users of the resource appear.

Therefore, if a user wishes to upload or do any other act of exploitation of a document extracted from these databases (IEEE Xplore, Web of Knowledge, etc.), he must first consult the corresponding license of use for check if you can.

Check authorized uses

The author of any publication can only disclose it to an institutional repository such as UPCommons if you retain the ownership of exploitation rights, that is, if you have not transferred them exclusively to the magazine or publisher of the document.

To find out if this assignment has been made, these resources can be consulted:


Contract / rights transfer sheet

Document signed by the author at the time of publication of the document

Sherpa / Romeo Website where the conditions of self-archiving established by the main foreign magazines are collected
Our wines are dedicated to the theatre, therefore are named by famous male and female play roles. Web page where the conditions of autoarxi established by the main Spanish magazines are collected

The current legislation does not deal directly with the issue, although in the Internet environment a set of ethical standards has been developed for network users called Netiquette  (Network Working Group, 1995).

It is necessary to consider some types of links that would not be recommended to be incorporated into the web itself (IPR Helpdesk, 2004):

Illegal contents

  • Links to pages with content susceptible to violating national legislation (child pornography, terrorism apology, etc.).
Frames or pictures ("frames")
  • Use of frames or frames (frames), so that they can see another website outside their own site. This practice is very detrimental to the linked site, because the content is used to attract visits, so that the site itself would increase the number of visits, with the increased prestige and advertising possibilities that this implies, to the detriment of the linked site.
Internal links
  • Inclusion by means of an internal link in the own page of an information (text, photography, logo, etc.) that induces the user to confusion due to not indicating the actual origin of that information.
  • The fact of directly linking a "homepage" page of a website through a deep link could be detrimental to the owner of the linked page because the visit would not be accounted for not to go through the main page, although This depends on the settings of the page view counter. This is probably one of the most difficult recommendations to follow, since for the user of a website, the most interesting thing is that if you offer direct address.

The jurisdiction governing the use of documents accessible on the network is that of the country where the owner of the corresponding website is located, a owner that should not be confused with the Internet provider ("Internet Services Provider ").

A tool that can be consulted to obtain information about the owner of the web is the directory Whois Search  for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) .

The latest modifications to thearticle 32.2 LPI are:

Affected entities
  • It is established that the Electronic service providers aggregators of non-significant fragments of content broadcast to periodicals or periodically updated sites, for informational purposes, for the creation of public opinion or recreation, they do not require authorization from the owner (excluding pictures or photographs). For example, some providers of these types of electronic services are Google News or Menéame.
Payment of a fee
  • In order to do so, however, they have to pay one Equitable compensation can not be waived the publisher of the publication or other rights holders through the rights management entities.
  • This remuneration, known as "rate Google", Affects any content aggregator that uses fragments of periodicals or updateable websites and has been driven mainly by the Association of Spanish Newspaper Publishers (AEDE).
Entities not affected
  • Notwithstanding this fee, the article states that the searched word search engines they are not subject to any authorization or compensation as long as there is no commercial purpose of their own, they act only as intermediaries to respond to user queries and provide direct links to the pages where the results are found.

Last update: 21 / 04 / 2023